Ivory Coast says can’t service external debt in 2011

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Ivory Coast, which has been in default for more than six months, said it was unable to service on its external debt this year and would resume payments to bondholders next year after securing a new funding deal with the International Monetary Fund.

“It is now apparent that the Republic of Cote d’Ivoire will be unable to make any scheduled payments of external debt due in 2011 to the Paris Club of holders of its $2.3 million step-up bonds due 2032,” Ivorian Minister of Economy and Finance Charles Koffi Diby said in a statement.

Struggling to restore law and order after a brief but bloody war resolved an electoral dispute, the West African country said it would negotiate a new three-year programme with the IMF for an extended credit facility, Reuters reports.

The IMF deal would allow it to seek an interim agreement on its Paris Club debt before the end of the year.

Diby said the government would resume contractual payments to its bondholders beginning in 2012.

The bond fell 0.2 points in price to trade at around 50.9 cents on the dollar, its lowest in over three months.